My College-going Journey as a Transfer Student

photo of Isabelle KeeverThroughout all four years of high school, I planned to decide on a college and major that I would stick with, which was the mindset of most of my peers. Looking back now, I think about how inaccurate that might be for many students. I had some interests from high school going into college, but not enough to make the decision best for me. Once I started my college courses, I found out more about what I liked and did not like. The same is true for the environment. After two years of struggling to find my place, I decided it would be best to transfer somewhere better suited to my needs. This choice was right for me, and I realize now that it is okay to not have a set plan. Life is much more fluid than I thought at the time, and I chose what made me feel most secure and happy.

I will admit, I was very nervous at first. Talking logistics with my family and really researching other institutions and what they offer made me more confident. For me, it was important to look at the advertising degree plan at The University of Texas at Austin to understand requirements. This helped me finalize my decision by knowing what to expect, feeling positive that I would enjoy the coursework.

Now I am in my first semester at my new school, and I am glad I made this decision. Though it takes work and courage to go somewhere new, I have found this school to be very accommodating. Joining organizations helps with making friends. People are more welcoming and accepting of new transfer students than one might think. One thing I seriously encourage transfer students to do is to schedule a meeting with an advisor early in the semester. After meeting with mine, I now have my entire degree plan written out, so I am confident going forward.

Who has inspired or supported you in your college-going journey?

So many people have supported me along the way, but my mom has seen me through high school, college, and the process of transferring schools. She always encouraged me to do the best I can, take advantage of work and school opportunities, and supported me in every direction I’ve gone. As a former college student, she knew about the processes, and offered school-related advice whenever I’ve needed it. She completed her undergraduate degree and progressed to graduate school, a route I hope to take in my career. With this, she has been a valuable voice in my life, and I am thankful for her help in my journey.

What advice would you give to transfer students?

Transferring schools can be an intimidating choice to navigate. Many students, myself included, never imagine themselves making that step. However, it’s much more normal than one might think. Figuring everything out in high school is not realistic, and wanting a change is not a feeling to be alone in. I first asked myself why I wanted to transfer in the first place. Starting there may spark ideas when looking for different programs at another school. After going through this process, there are a number of tips I would give to someone in the same position.

  • Reach out to your school, and the school to which you are considering transferring. Talk to your advisors, their advisors, and their admissions office to figure out the logistics and credit transfer policy.
  • Stay aware of deadlines. To ensure your application includes your best work, be careful to read instructions thoroughly, including due dates. Put your best work forward.
  • Once hearing back from an institution, plan for the action of transferring. If you’re moving, figure out where. If you have certain requirements such as pre-transfer courses or orientation, make sure to sign up and take care of these before school starts.
  • Make an effort to get involved. Join transfer group chats and connect with other students in the same position. Search for organizations you would be interested in joining.

The transfer process is not easy, but following these steps helped me have the smoothest transition I could. It might be daunting, but it is manageable. Lean on your support system, prepare for the transfer, and find success at your new institution.

How has ACT’s internship helped you put your education into practice?

Working with the ACT Communications team encouraged me to employ and improve skills I’ve learned throughout my postsecondary education. Observing the regular functions of the team and receiving valuable feedback from different members helped me take my skills, specifically writing, from classroom-focused to professionally relevant. This internship program was dedicated to helping me progress as a young professional, allowing me to truly participate and grasp how a company functions, something which can’t be learned in a classroom setting.

What tips do you have for college students who are eager to get work experience but do not know where to start?

Considering resources provided by a student’s institution is a great place to start. Many colleges have opportunities to learn more about different fields through networking, job fairs, and clubs or professional organizations on campus. Getting involved is essential. Starting with resume-building organizations at school and reaching out to favorite professors can help students gain insight and begin marketing themselves to employers. Often campuses have writing centers that may assist a student with creating a resume. If this isn’t an option, students can benefit from doing their own research online.

Isabelle Keever is a junior at The University of Texas at Austin, pursuing a degree in advertising. Before transferring, she attended Texas A&M University, where she took specialized communication courses. Isabelle grew up in Tomball, Texas and now lives in Austin.